An Artist for Artists

Are you an artist who cares about social issues? This message from our co-founder, Dan Haseltine, is for you:

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I’d like to introduce myself. I am Dan Haseltine, co-founder and artist relations director at Blood:Water. I have the privilege of connecting artists to great stories. I get to imagine alongside wonderful and creative people, how best to communicate the life-altering, culture-shifting, worldview-widening stories of heroic Africans beating seemingly insurmountable odds.

I am an artist, and so I know that artists have an insatiable need to look at the world from a different perspective. They have a constant urge to see things that are cast off as normal and mundane, as new and startling. Artists have lenses for capturing the colors of the soul. They have the means to direct the jagged hearts fury and savage danger until its wild impulsive movements turn into a dance, as beautiful and striking as ever there was upon the stage. Whew… let’s dig back out of that thick metaphor…

We need artists to care about the social issues of our time. We need artists to give us visions of the present so that we can see ourselves and to what proximity we are from the means of justice and service.

If it were not for artists, we would know so little about our own hearts. We would have so few examples of how powerful love and humility can be. We would lack a certain wonder and awe. And we would not have the conductors necessary to allow the electricity of compassion, empathy and generosity to flow from the dusty villages of western Africa into the concert halls of middle America.

Generosity flows out of the heart. That is to say, we give when we become emotionally engaged in the story of someone’s life.  So… it is a great privilege to be a part of the continuing story of Blood:Water. It has been inspiring to see the good work that is being done in Africa, and the impact storytelling has had on over a million people who once lived in places without safe water, now having the vision and foothold to build thriving and healthy communities.

To those who call their vocation “storytelling,” do I have a story for you! Let’s sit down and see if it is a story worth handing down, and retelling… It is a story that goes on and on, even after it reaches its final ending, when there are no more people struggling in communities without access to safe, clean water. The generations upon generations that are impacted will blow your mind. I pray you will get to live it out as much as I have. I pray that you will get to know the other characters inhabiting its dramatic landscapes. I hope you will get to feel the wind tear from your lungs by the sadness, and the light fill your eyes by the celebrations and laughter… The sights and smells and sounds once so foreign and unimaginable will become old friends, and reminders of a version of who you were before your world opened up and splayed out with new and vivid colors. I’d love to tell you more…

Talk soon,

Dan Haseltine

If you'd like to speak with Dan, you can email him at dhaseltine@bloodwater.org.